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Because you can't spend all day every day journeying around IgoUgo, editors round up the highlights: members' notable trips, newest reviews, favorite destinations, contests, and more. Have a question or idea? Let us know!

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IgoUgo's Guide to the Hawaiian Islands

IgoUgo's Guide to the Hawaiian Islands Photo

Photo by MattF

Posted on February 27, 2012 in Trip Ideas

It’s always around this time of year when we start jonesing for tropical locations (see our previous post). Probably because we are ready for the winter to end, the travel bug always hits and there is no better place to curb that craving than here on IgoUgo. Current obsession? Hawaii. So if you’re headed to the Aloha State and wondering where to stay, peruse our quick Guide to the Hawaiian Island to get a lay of the (incredibly beautiful) land. Even if you’ve done this archipelago before, the diversity of the islands always leaves more to be seen.

This northernmost island is the oldest in the chain, and bursting with natural beauty, whether you’re in search of scenic outdoor adventure, or just some warm romantic atmosphere. The beaches on Kauai are top-notch: Ke’e Beach boasts calm, protected waters, Tunnels Beach is amazing for snorkeling and Poipu Beach is a favored surfer haunt. Here you’ll also find the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”, Waimea Canyon - a 10 mile long crevasse of colorful strata that will take your breath away - just like the towering cliffs of the island’s Napali Coast.

Photo by lcampbell

Oahu is the state’s capital, and home to the majority of the Hawaiian population. Pro surfers haunt the waves at the famed North Shore, while tourists and locals alike frequent the stirring Pearl Harbor Memorial, situated above the sunken hull of the USS Arizona. Here you’ll also find the famed Waikiki Beach on the south shore of Honolulu, a popular resort getaway since 1901, packed with shopping, dining and entertainment options. And for the adventuresome, don’t miss the unforgettable snorkeling in the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve.

Molokai’s high native popular keeps it steeped in rich cultural history. Those in search of a peaceful getaway will love the sleepy town of Kaunakakai, while nature-lovers can’t miss the flora-packed Halawa Valley. There’s also the amazing seaside settlements of the Kalaupapa National Historic Park to choose from, not to mention Papohaku Beach, one of the largest white sand beaches in the state.

You won’t even find a traffic light on this quiet island, a peaceful respite from the more tourist-heavy parts of the state. That doesn’t mean you won’t find some amazing places to stay here. Check out Hulopoe Bay and Lani City for amazing and opulent resorts, and don’t miss the Garden of the Gods (aka, Keahiakawelo), home to some of the most incredible rock formations in the state.

Photo by creekland

The second largest island in the chain, Maui is arguably the most popular, home to some of the best beaches in the world. You’ll find incredible whale watching off the coast in the winter, while the sunrise from Haleakala National Park stuns visitors year-round. For excellent shopping and dining, you can rely on the options in historic Lahaina town, and for some amazing scenery, take a drive on the unbelievable Road To Hana, one of the most scenic drives in the world.

Hawaii, the Big Island
They’re not kidding when they call it big - this island can hold all the other islands combined, and represents 11 of the world’s 13 climactic zones, from snowcapped mountains to sandy beaches. Visit scenic Hilo for stunning waterfalls, rainforest and botanical gardens, then rent some gear and snorkel the unbelievably clear waters of Kona. And don’t miss a visit to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, home to the most active volcanoes in the world, including Mt. Kilauea.

And of course, no post about Hawaii would be complete without a plethora of photos that make you wonder why you aren’t booking your flight right now.

Photo by Jingo

Photo by John Denholm

Photo by Poopita

Photo by MilwVon

Photo by David Pillinger

Photo by ginabang

Photo by incrediblejoycey

Photo by Eric from Aiea

Photo by reddove113

Photo by smmmarti guide

Photo by RoBoNC

Photo by brownie_b

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Posted by jhartmann13 (JJ Hartmann)

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